A 7-Step Guide for Doctors
The patient acquisition cycle begins with attracting new patients and continues to progress by retaining them as loyal customers and continues to increase with patient acquisition due to satisfied patients. Your current references,etc. The fuel to keep this cycle going to get more patients comes from the inspiration behind providing exceptional patient experiences. Without that, you cannot attract new patients to your practice which will cause your practice’s growth to stall.
For providing an exceptional patient experience, you’ll first need to understand and stand out on your patients’ expectations. Apart from that, you’ll also need to market yourself for increasing trust and confidence among your existing patients in a way that is also beneficial to increase patient referrals for you.
Here is a 7-step guide that will help you to get more patients to your clinic:
1. Understand patients’ needs & expectations
To get started, you must first understand where you lack as a provider. You will therefore need to know the needs and expectations of your patients as well as your performance on these fronts. And who else but your patient can tell you more about it!
Take a patient satisfaction survey or simply look at the results of a CAHPS survey to understand what is bothering your patients about the quality of your care and customer service. Additionally, engage in focused discussions on topics related to diagnosis, treatment, staff communication, and hospitality with your patients, or ask emotional questions face to face (while they are in your treatment) or on social media chats and the patient. portals. Find out what your patients are saying about you on review sites. By aggregating your notes on all responses and feedback, you can get a reasonable idea of your areas for improvement.
2. Conduct sentiment analysis for a deeper understanding
By empathizing with your patients and their concerns, you can understand their emotions in a more friendly and accurate manner. Although you can directly talk with your patients to understand their emotions, it’s not possible with your manual efforts to understand and keep a record of each of their responses and do analysis over them. Also, it’s not very likely that your patients will openly share their emotions with you. Moreover, do you think you’ll get enough time to talk over these with each of your patients?
Investigations driven by emotional analysis software can not be better understood by the patient’s feelings, but can also be done through an in-depth analysis of the patient’s emotions and strength.
Sentiment analysis tools will help you a lot in this regard. It will help you send a survey link to your patients as soon as they leave your office. You’ll need to include the following questions in your survey to get an answer that can be analyzed by sentiment:
- Their likelihood of recommending you to their friends/relatives is based on their experience. Use a scale of 1-5 (most common) or 0-10 (industry standard for calculating net promoter score).
- An open-ended comment box where they can elaborate on their rating and anything else they’d like to share about the visit.
- The AI technology will do its part by extracting human emotions from written feedback. It will help you understand exactly how your patients felt about their visits, and spot patterns over time to identify problem areas.
3. Identify your target audience based on demography
While analyzing all the data and information to understand your patients’ needs and wants and their feelings, you should also keep in mind the target audience in each region based on their demographics such as age, gender. , location, etc. It will help you create and execute very specific marketing campaigns, and also optimize your online marketing activities and entities.
From your website’s Google Analytics account, you can get demographics on both: actual conversions and interested leads.
You can also get specific landing page data from analytics for your different service categories so you know what will help you target potential customers based on their specific needs and interests.
4. Create unique internal patient referral programs
Identifying and understanding your target audience is the first step on the journey to engaging more patients. The next step is to apply internal marketing methods in your clinic, focusing on increasing patient referrals. However, simply asking patients to refer or reward them won’t do you much good. Moreover, rewarding for referral favors is forbidden in most, if not all states. By engaging your patients in an interactive conversation, and empathizing with their concerns, you can make your referral programs have more effective results.
- Show short commercials. Show a short, informative, and conversational commercial (during wait times) about ways to help other patients in the practice. Stories about how a patient helped another patient recently will emotionally trigger them to act.
- Offer referral bonuses. While rewarding directly shouldn’t be a great way, you can still reward by deducting from new-patient credit from the patient portion. Don’t forget to include a note on how much and why you discounted the co-pay, while you submit the insurance.
- Ask for reviews. Asking your happy patients to leave reviews will help improve your online reputation. Facilitate them on this by sending a link for posting a review right after they exit your office. It will help you get more patients from the internet route.
You can also try more proactive measures like calling each of your patients at the end of the day to show empathy and compassion, or sending birthday cards and even inserting referral cards. Personalize your monthly newsletter. for patients.
PS – Assign an internal marketing program to direct patients to a specific staff member for responsibility. This is more important for clinics or hospitals that are too busy for marketing.
5. Build strong relationships with referring practices
Building strong and mutually beneficial relationships with referrals like general practitioners and other non-specialists will help you attract more patients to your clinic. It will take time to build a solid reputation among best practices. But by ensuring optimal doctor to doctor communication and managing the privileges of patients referred by them, you can easily ensure a strong and long-lasting relationship with them.
An important aspect of optimal communication involves the transfer of clinically relevant information in both directions (referring doctor-to-doctor referred). Patients do not like repeating their medical history every time they are referred to another doctor.
In addition to improving communication problems, focusing on providing timely and effective care to your referred patients will help them sustain their long lives.
Here are a few tips to acquaint you about how to provide privileged care to your referred patients:
- Tell over-the-counter staff to attend to the referred patients promptly
- Provide speedy appointments to them and don’t let them wait for too long
- Establish a direct line of contact in your office and the office of the referring practice for timely information sharing, and to alleviate the frustration of a lengthy phone tree system
- Send over the treatment and other medical notes to the referring practice soon after the patient has received treatment
Providing privileged care to referred patients doesn’t mean that you fall short on providing quality care to your regular patients. After all, you’ve to promote internal referring through them. But the truth is: you have to let your newly referred patient feel special and for that, the least you can do is to show some extra care to them.
6. Expand to a robust online presence & authority
Most of the patients referred to you will check your reputation on the web. If they find bad reviews about you, or if they weren’t able to get to your site in the first place, they will most likely be redirected to other options and maybe even leave the network. In this case, you will need to have a strong online presence and authoritative influence on the internet to prevent them from redirecting.
Here’s what your patients expect to find when they search for you on the web:
- Reach you easily on the web – a strong SEO strategy in place will ensure a robust online presence for an easier reach
- Find a positive reputation about you and your quality of care on the web – online reputation management is the key to build a positive reputation
- Be able to navigate through your website swiftly and easily without distractions – a good website design with a clear UX interface will be needed
- Ease of scheduling speedy appointments – a separate landing page with a clear and strong call-to-action will work
Having a strong online presence doesn’t just mean you’re easy to find. It is also related to the impression that your brand leaves on the patient as a first impression. It won’t be enough with a flow of positive reviews. You should also focus on gaining power online by connecting with influencers and getting mentions from them. Having numerous mentions of reputable brands on the online space creates a reputable impression on your patients.
Influencer marketing also allows you to get valuable connections from reputable people, publications, or companies in your industry. It helps your website rank higher on search engines and gain a higher social media presence and authority.
7. Grow reach in your patient community
For doctors, most of whom are clients (or patients) from their locality, it is essential for them to form a local community and connect with members on a deeper level. This can be very rewarding, as having a strong patient community also allows you to increase your reach in the online and offline spaces.
You can try various things to build a strong community and get a hold of your presence in it:
- Newsletters: Patients enjoy receiving and reading newsletters that solve their health concerns. Send out neighborhood newsletters that share tips and information for health improvement. The point here is to actively engage your patients by providing interactive discussion material. Newsletters are also a great way for branding, so always keep your practice on the forefront of your patients’ minds.
- Community events: Participating in community events, such as volunteer activities and neighborhood celebrations can brilliantly improve local networking and establish your strong presence in the community. The key to success here is to be visible, friendly, and being supportive to your patient community.
- Sponsor events and leagues: Another brilliant way for community relationship building is to sponsor small fun and sports events and little leagues on at least a bi-yearly basis. Having a sports team of kids or adults in your practice’s name will immensely improve your brand authority in the community.
- Facebook page: Form an online community of your patients. Set up a Facebook page in your practice’s name. It can be a great place for showing off the culture of your practice from patients’ and staff’s perspectives. Facebook pages are also a great way to promote engagement by starting conversations on different health matters, conducting quizzes, and spreading awareness about your activities and events as a healthcare provider.
Connect to various local media online and offline. Have a friendly relationship with them. Take advantage of it to receive news about your participation, sponsors, and other business activities posted through them to reach the brand more widely.
In the End…
Each of these tips will require specific knowledge and efforts to be carried out successfully. Some of this knowledge and efforts will come from your practice’s team, while some will be needed from your healthcare marketing team.